Orna is a writer, herbalist, gardener, naturopathic physician and owner of Celilo Natural Health Center in Portland, Oregon.
Orna’s first career was in journalism, with newspaper-experience on both U.S. coasts. Her award-winning work has appeared in publications such as The Los Angeles Times, Multinational Monitor, E/The Environmental Magazine, The Bangor Daily News, Willamette Week, High Country News, Verde.com and Tidepool.org. She has published chapters in two books, Feeling the Heat: Dispatches from the Frontlines of Climate Change” (Routledge, 2004) and “Green Living: The E Magazine Handbook for Living Lightly on the Earth” (Plume, 2005). She is a member of the Society of Environmental Journalists.
After nearly a dozen years covering primarily rural natural-resource issues, Orna turned her attention to making a difference on an individual basis through natural health care. Her career shift came through personal health challenges, an evolving passion for ecology and a lifelong love of plants and the places they grow. Orna is an avid gardener and certified Permaculture designer. She has used herbs, food, water and homeopathy as the mainstays of her own health care for nearly two decades.
Orna trained in clinical herbalism with veteran community-health educator Colette Gardiner in Portland, Ore., whose 400-hour professional program focused primarily on the uses of cultivated, often-European medicinal plants. Complementing that work, Orna spent seven months studying botany, wildcrafting techniques and medicinal uses of Northwest native plants with herbalist Howie Brounstein in Eugene, Ore. She also attended an advanced workshop with Howie on medicinal plants of the Southwest. Orna has since studied with herbalists Deb Soule, Ryan Drum, Adam Seller, Michael Pilarski, Dr. Deborah Frances, Dr. Glen Nagel and Dr. Jill Stansbury. Orna has been known to take road trips with tapes of herb-conference proceedings on the car stereo.
Orna then attended medical school at National College of Natural Medicine, the oldest school of naturopathic medicine in North America, earning her naturopathic doctorate in 2009. Naturopathy is a century-old medical practice based on the ideas of the healing power of nature, targeted at individual patients, while identifying and treating the underlying causes of ill health. The rigorous, federally accredited, four-year program included traditional natural healing arts such as nutrition, herbal medicine, homeopathy, hydrotherapy and physical medicine, as well as the medical-school mainstays of biomedical basic and clinical sciences, pharmacology, minor surgery, laboratory diagnosis and diagnostic imaging.
In 2007 completed the New England School of Homeopathy‘s two-year course with Drs. Paul Herscu and Amy Rothenberg. She also has studied homeopathy with Dr. Will Taylor, Dr. Durr Elmore, Dr. Frederik Schroyens, Henny Heudens-Mast and Kim Elia.
At NCNM, Orna was selected for clinical mentorship in homeopathy by Dr. Will Taylor and in biotherapeutic drainage by Dr. Dickson Thom, both among the world’s foremost practitioners of their healing arts. She has logged more than 1,200 clinical hours working with hundreds of patients in settings including a remote Alaskan Native hospital, urban clinics for homeless street youth, addiction recovery, women’s health and general health issues. Her specific clinical foci include women’s medicine, acute and chronic illness, mood disturbances, hormonal imbalances and respiratory health.
Journalism allowed Orna to explore the depth, complexity and interdependence of ecological systems. Naturopathy allows her to apply these insights to the physical, emotional and spiritual systems of individual patients, in their social and environmental contexts. Her medical focus is on treating people, not conditions, using plants — as teas, tinctures and flower essences — along with food, homeopathy and hydrotherapy. Orna believes that many of our health and political ills stem from separation — from each other, from ourselves and from the land that has always sustained us. The practice of natural medicine is about healing those splits and in the process healing ourselves, each other and the land. Natural medicine is the people’s medicine, its cures in people’s hands, cupboards, bathtubs, refrigerators. Orna sees her role as a teacher and cheerleader, helping you move toward better health.
In her naturopathic practice Orna helps people with their personal health through targeted reintegration with the natural world around them. In the late summer of 2009 she was selected as the first writer in residency at Newforest Institute in Brooks, Maine. Orna is now hard at work on a book linking herbalism and Permaculture design, Garden Medicine.